Washington: Thousands of illegal immigrants, including a large number of Indians, applied for the new status under Obama Administration's new immigration policy that would let them avoid deportation and obtain a US work permit.
According to the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), a Washington-based think tank, an estimated 1.76 million undocumented illegal immigrants, including 30,000 Indians, under the age of 31 are expected to benefit from new policy of US President Barack Obama to defer deportation of illegal immigrants for two years, which came into effect yesterday.
Media reports thousands of people across the nation applied seeking necessary permission to prevent their deportation.
As per the new policy, certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and would then be eligible for work authorisation.
"Under existing regulations, an individual who receives deferred action and demonstrates economic necessity for employment is eligible to also receive employment authorisation for the period of deferred action -- in this case, two years," Alejandro Mayorkas, Director, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) told reporters during a conference call.
The total fee for making application is USD 465, which includes a biometric check and issuance of a secure work authorisation document.
Mayorkas said after forms have been received, USCIS will review them for completeness, including submission of the required fee.
"Once a request is accepted as complete, USCIS will send a receipt notice, and individuals will subsequently be sent an appointment notice for the individual to submit biometrics," he said.
"Each request for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals will be examined for potential fraud and reviewed on an individual, case-by-case basis following the completion of a thorough background check. While individual processing times may vary, typically individual requests take several months to process.
"We expect similar processing times for deferred action requests," he said, adding that the processing may take several months to complete.
Welcoming the development, Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Party Leader said that because of the strong action of Obama, more than a million young people raised and educated here in America would benefit.
"This is smart policy that will enhance our nation's security while removing the spectre of deportation that haunts DREAMers," said Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid.
However, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney termed it a stop gap arrangement.
"I will put in place my own long-term solution that will replace and supersede the president's temporary measure. As president, I won't settle for stopgap measures. I'll work with Republicans and Democrats to build a long-term solution," he said.
First Published: Thursday, August 16, 2012, 14:09